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Showing posts from July, 2011

A day in the life this desert nomad…

The rainbow spans the entire horizon ahead of me, to the east. The rain has just abated, though it continues to threaten in the form of dark clouds further north. As I sit at the table, munching biscuits lathered with apricot jam and my book for company, the loneliness and the enormity of the plains I am walking on is brought home to me. There is no one to share the rainbow at the moment; it does not matter. Some things are best enjoyed with self, good food and memories of those I love. And yes, good music, that is missing. Nevermind. Far away to the north, I can see the rain pelting down on the plain and the mountains that rise from it. The wind is beginning to pick up as the sun played hide and seek behind the clouds. It might reach us in the night, maybe not. I am learning to live with the unpredictability, live in the moment. It is time to make a dash back to the tent, keep my book away, and fetch the beanie. Soon we will have dinner.
The walking for the day had halted at 4.30 pm. …

Our ships of the desert

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Besides the homo sapiens on our team, we each had an animal counterpart in one double humped Bactrian camel. Like the humans though, they came with colorful and varied personalities and abilities. 
It was the first time for all of us at handling camels. Agii, Albekh, Janka and Wantok were the only folks who had lived and breathed camels all their lives.
On the eve of day one, we met them all from a distance. At the camp by the lakeside they were lined up and roped to a common line. There was even a calf running around in the camp. As far as I know, our team was all males so the calf was probably only a temporary attraction. It was strange to see the small one gallop around and imagine him as a big fully grown camel one day. They really are huge. The family which owned the camels had come to say hello and see which crazy people would now own their livestock.
Faraz was encouraged by the townsfolk who had gathered to greet us to climb and ride a camel. He tried unsuccessfully to get on one…

Expedition Lifeline

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Most of the credit for keeping us safe and sound, healthy and on track for the daily grind goes to our support staff. Kobesh Co, an adventure company owned by the much talented and recently married Agii Makhsum is responsible for logistics and support for the expedition. The staff comprised of Agii, himself, Janka who whipped up delicious meals, Wantok who was the handy man and Albekh who had a way with camels. They left us wanting for nothing and were always around for help, each of them gifted in their own ways. Incidentally all of them are Kazhaks by culture and Mongolian by nationality.
Agii, is the backbone of support for the entire team. He had picked excellent crew – human and animal for us. By the time we reach Bulgan to make our start, he had the camp ready and waiting. I first met him on the airport at Khvod. A cheery face, and a happy smile are a permanent feature. I think the fact that he was recently married helped too. He made sure all of us were comfortable in our new sur…